Former teacher rejects boys' claims of indecent acts

6:32 pm on 7 May 2019

A former teacher on trial for indecent acts on young people has taken the stand to claim the allegations he faces were made up to sabotage him.

Former Auckland high school teacher Benjamin Christopher Missi Swann has appeared in the Auckland High Court and is accused of doing indecent acts on boys.

Photo: RNZ / Dan Cook

Benjamin Christopher Missi Swann faces 10 charges of indecent acts on a young person, relating to seven boys. He denies all charges and is on trial at the High Court in Auckland.

This morning, now in the second week of the trial, the 55-year-old took the stand to give evidence. Defence lawyer Sam Wimsett said he had not needed to, but would in an effort to clear his name.

"What do you say to the allegations that you touched genitals [of a complainant]?" Mr Wimsett said.

"No, absolutely not," Mr Swann said.

Mr Swann said none of the complainants were naked, as some had claimed, and the room where the alleged acts occurred was not locked. He said one of the complainants was stalking him, and claimed the boy stole his phone.

Many of the details of the case are suppressed to protect the identity of the boys, including how he knew them.

Crown Prosecutor David Stevens claimed some of the complainants were naked and that Mr Swann asked them to remove their clothes.

He read messages from Mr Swann's phone, extracted by the police digital forensic unit.

In one of them Mr Swann wrote a message to someone else, to say one of the complainants was "aroused" around the time of the alleged act, which he agreed under Mr Stevens' cross-examination that he meant the boy had an erection.

"You did tell him to take off his pants," Mr Stevens said.

"No I did not," Mr Swann replied.

"He did not have an erection, did he," Mr Stevens said.

"He did," Mr Swann said.

"You did touch and rub his penis," Mr Stevens said.

"Absolutely not," Mr Swann said.

The jury trial before Justice Duffy continues.